|Beneath The Mask|
|Date Aired||February 11, 2011|
|Writer||Seamus Kevin Fahey & Misha Green|
The House of Batiatus is caught in the power struggle between the younger and elder Batiatus. Lucretia reluctantly agrees to her husband's risky plan. Gannicus finds himself on unstable ground.
As some of the last battles in the old arena of Capua take place, Quintus and Titus observe from the stands. A murmillo gladiator fights a retiarius. The retiarius, who fights in a style new to Capua, wins the battle. Below, Ashur and Dagan prepare for their first battle. As they have not truly earned the mark of the brotherhood, Oenomaus tells them that this will be their test. Dagan shows himself to be a talented fighter and makes his first kill in the arena, but Ashur is beaten back and loses his helmet. Forced to the ground, his opponent is about to make the final strike when Dagan stabs the man from behind. Ashur finishes the man by bashing his head in, claiming the kill as his own, to Titus's disapproval.
With the minor games over, Vettius introduces his champion, Caburus. The battle is short and Caburus wins, removing the heart of his opponent. While the games continue, Lucretia and Gaia roam the markets, talking of Titus and his influence of the household. Lucretia hints that he will soon be returning to Sicilia, but Gaia talks of leaving the house to escape him. They spy Petronius, an eligible bachelor and a man of interest to Gaia.
Despite having met her before, Petronius does not recognize Gaia, and instead approaches Lucretia with interest, having heard of the pleasures of their ludus from Quintilius Varus, much to Lucretia's horror. Later, they tell Quintus of their meeting, and he says they should take advantage of the opportunity; he tells them to invite the man to the house—he will distract his father in the meantime.
Ashur and Dagan return to the ludus, where they are met with hesitant congratulations, for the other gladiators still do not consider them brothers. Titus calls Gannicus into the villa and questions him on his loyalty and will to be champion. Titus realizes that Gannicus does not fight for his house, and refuses to accept him as champion.
On her way to Oenomaus' chambers, Melitta is stopped by Gannicus. She tries to stay out of his way, and tells him that what happened between them would be best ignored. Gannicus replies that he cannot stop thinking about her. Melitta leaves him, but when she spends the night with her husband, she fantasizes about Gannicus.
The next day, Oenomaus commands Gnaeus to switch weapons to the trident and net, assuming the style of the Retiarius. Gnaeus mouths off to him, as Oenomaus lashes out at him with his whip. Oenomaus then sternly orders him to comply with his demands, exercising his power as Doctore for the first time. Gnaeus follows through as the rest of Gladiators begin to look at him differently.
That night, Quintus leads Titus away from the ludus to Neapolis under the pretense of scoping out new gladiator talent. The elite of Capua, among them Petronius, are invited to the ludus for a night of pleasures.
In Neapolis, Quintus and Titus find nothing of worth. Despite Quintus' misgivings, they both decide to return to the ludus before morning.
In the absence, the slaves in the villa are preparing for the evening ahead. Solonius arrives to provide protection to Lucretia, who feels that she cannot handle all of the guests by herself. Soon after, the guests arrive. The gladiators are presented before them for their entertainment, along with the spectacle of a gladiator Rhaskos and a slave Diona having sex on a raised platform.
After the exhibition, Lucretia prepares to move onto the next event of the evening when Tullius interrupts with his sudden arrival. Despite this, Lucretia continues, afraid to force him to leave. Painted slaves, both male and female, are brought forth for the guests. Tullius decides that, before donning a mask, he should put himself to a challenge and fight Gannicus. Oenomaus tells Gannicus to indulge Tullius and lose so that the man is not insulted. Tullius, though skilled with a sword, is no match for Gannicus; even so, the latter allows Tullius to make a fool of him, and gives missio after receiving multiple cuts to the torso.
As Melitta escorts Gannicus to the Medicus, he attempts to speak with her again about the kiss, but Melitta runs away in fear of Oenomaus finding out.
In the villa, an orgy is taking place, with both slaves and gladiators fulfilling the men's desires. One of the Capuans approaches Dagan and asks if the Syrian would have him. Ashur translates the man's wishes falsely to spite Dagan, who earned more in their battle for being "twice the man." Unknowingly, Dagan agrees with the man's terms, and leaves the group of gladiators.
Gaia decides to distract Tullius, who has taken nothing from the house and, instead, wanders amongst the other men. Leading him to a side room, she seduces him. They speak of when they were younger, and Tullius admits to lusting after Gaia back then. Drawing closer, he tells her that he has a message for her to deliver to Quintus.
Morning comes by the time the guests leave, satisfied with the event. Petronius expresses interest in discussing business with Quintus before he leaves Capua. After all the others seem to have left, Solonius also exits, assuming the house in safe hands. Shortly after the man's departure, however, Tullius emerges from the chamber unexpectedly. Before leaving the villa, he tells Lucretia that Gaia has a message for her. As she goes to find Gaia, she finds her friend's favorite red wig lying on the floor outside of a chamber. Inside is Gaia's corpse, her head
violently smashed open.
Titus returns to the ludus before light to find a distraught Lucretia and the villa full of evidence of the night before. He blames Lucretia for her part in the matter and tells Quintus to separate from his wife or be banished from the house. Titus decides to not allow news of the dark event to escape the villa, and fabricates the story of Gaia's death, saying that she drank too much and stumbled off the cliff.
Gaia's body is taken to the balcony at sunrise. Lucretia takes a few moments to say goodbye, and kisses her friend one last time. The body is tipped into the abyss and Lucretia swears Vengeance for Gaia's death.
Characters in Order of Appearance
- Magneteus (in a flashback)
Titus: "I would witness the games here, among the people, with son beside me."
Ashur: "A fine blade; to be wielded with deadly purpose."
Oenomaus: "Reform my words in manner Dagan understands. You bear the mark of the brotherhood, an honor you have not earned. Your true test awaits you: live and count yourself among us, die and prove yourselves as unworthy as I suspect."
Ashur: (in Syrian) "... die, and this fuck will rejoice in our parting."
Dagan: (in Syrian) "He will celebrate my cock in his ass."
Ashur: (translating) "Dagan says he will honor the house of Bataitus with gifts of blood, as will the mighty Ashur."
Titus: "We must be humble if I am to repair relationship with Tullius and return our men to the sands."
Gaia: (about Titus) "He is a gorgon with a cock turning all those around him to stone."
Gaia: "In desperate times fortune must give way to more assertive hands."
Titus: "A champion is more than his victories upon the sands. He is the sum of his actions. Every decision, no matter how small, speaks to the man, and the balance of his heart."
Melitta: "The memory will fade with time, as do all things born of misfortune."
Oenomaus: (about Gannicus) "We were as brothers once, but no more."
Melitta: "... Gannicus heeds nothing but his own desires, beyond all reason."
Oenomaus:"Gnaeus! Your mastery of the sword falls to question. The net and trident are your weapons now."
Gnaeus: (To Oenomaus)" A f***ing net Oenomaus ?!"
Oenomaus: (To Gnaeus after Slashing him with the whip) "You will do as commanded absent complaint, or see flesh stripped from bone."
Gnaeus: (To Oenomaus) "''''''Yes,Doctore"'
Lucretia: (to guests) "For a single night, you are the masters of this house!"
Melitta: "Why are you doing this?"
Gannicus: "Because to not would be a lie, much deeper than the one we tell Oenomaus. I did not want this; I love that man like a brother, yet what I feel for you—tell me it does not stir in your breast as well."
Batiatus: "You would dissolve my marriage?"
Titus: "No. You will make that choice for yourself, or be gone from this house with her."